The Importance of concrete floor preparation in floor covering and installation projects
Whenever you’re applying a new floor covering, such as concrete floor coatings or an epoxy floor coating, proper surface preparation is essential to ensure the covering’s functionality, lifetime and overall appearance.
Concrete floor preparation is often underestimated. Skipping or incorrectly working on this step can cause bonding failure, moisture-related issues, cracking tiles and other problems that will incur future expenses.
Following manufacturer guidelines regarding installation is critical to ensuring that the flooring materials are correctly installed. As floor layers and distributors, we know too well that if the floor isn’t properly prepared, with all the glues adhesives, carpet backings and laitance present, the new adhesive will fail to bond correctly, causing issues down the track.
Uncovering the Substrate
Whether you’re installing floor coverings or applying an epoxy coating, the first step will always be the same. As the saying goes, “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” This holds with every floor preparation job.
Often, during site assessments, existing floor coverings need to be removed. And depending on the type of covering present, tools and equipment used for this stage can include jackhammers on a trolley frame, handheld scrapers, a self-propelled R02 Floor Stripper or an R01 ride-on floor lifter.
Once the substrate is uncovered, you can begin to assess the condition of the concrete and determine the following steps needed. This often includes removal of old flooring, scraping, grinding, cleaning, moisture testing, bulk-filling, and floor levelling.
What Goes on Top is Only as Good as What’s Below
Surface preparation is the first step towards getting the flooring right because this ensures that the existing base addresses any issues that might get in the way.
No two floors are the same, and this is why some floors require a light skim coat, and some need a heavier bulk-fill to get it level. There will also be some situations where grinding and stripping may be called for. Old floorings may be riddled with adhesives, carpet backings and tile beddings, which should be removed before working on the new covering.
As a critical task, choosing the right tools for surface preparation is essential. With the proper diamond tooling for your machines, you can ensure that you’ll get the best possible outcome and shave off hours from your task.
With the increase in demand for floor covering services, since CoViD-19, for both commercial and residential markets, the industry has seen an increased demand for Schwamborn Concrete Floor Grinding machines and Dustcontrol Vacuum systems.
When laying floors, mainly tiled surfaces, the base floor must be levelled to prevent future cracking. When it comes to timber coverings or parquetry, moisture is the number one enemy and must be appropriately prepared. Nobody wants cracked tiles or moisture-ridden floors because this only spells further work and expense to rectify.
Concrete Moisture Testing
Proper moisture testing can now commence once all the old epoxies, coatings, and laitance have been removed. Reliable moisture testing tools include the Tramex CMEXII Kit from All Preparation Equipment or the CME4 handheld unit. Keep in mind that different flooring types adhere to specific Australian standards.
Grinding and Preparation of Concrete Floors
The Schwamborn Floor Grinder setups offer one of the widest range of diamond tooling available in the market and ensure that you’ll always have the right tool for the job. All Preparation Equipment has a diamond tooling guide that lets you compare the hardness of your concrete floor with the bonding/grit of the diamond tools needed for the job. Getting this match correct ensures the fastest and safest cutting process and extends the life of your diamond tools.
Compared to shot blasting or scarifying, concrete grinding is the more common floor preparation method. Grinding the floor with an upright walk behind concrete floor grinder or an angle grinder for confined spaces means that you can:
- Alter the diamond tooling depending on the job’s requirements.
- Control dust easily from its source.
- Easily remove common hazards from the floor without having to rely on multiple machines.
When a floor is not ground to a perfectly flat surface, various issues can arise. For instance, carpet floor coverings can cause moisture retention. Excess moisture can lead to more significant problems, such as moulds and stains that might creep onto the new floor covering weeks or months down the track.
Concrete Floor Levelling and Topping
Most contractors place their trust in the Portamix Mega Hippo Mixer for levelled floors to mix and pour the levelling products as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unlike a 20-litre bucket mix, the Hippo Mixing Station allows you to prepare up to six, 20kg. bags of levelling compound at once and pour it directly to the floor.
Popular tools used in floor levelling and coating applications can include flexible spiked shoes that allow a proper heel-to-toe gait for workers, pin-level rakes and wire-gauges. Other tools floor-layers use for removing air bubbles are the Easy Squeegee, Notched Rakes and Spiked Rollers. The Sticky Level Pegs can also help set up the proper height of the levels before applying the final product.
Correct concrete surface preparation is the key to success on any job. All Preparation Equipment supplies the tooling, equipment and product to help you get it right the first time.
Written by All Preparation Equipment
ph. 1800 422 992